The musical this past week was FABULOUS. I got to sit through it twice and a third time I was on costume repair duty so I scurried from backstage to the rear doors to watch various parts, especially Grace's scene which begins the second act.
When our French friend Marie came to visit this summer, she found it impossible to believe that Americans actually have "high school musicals."
"No, zhis must not be true!" she insisted. She also couldn't believe there were real marching bands. But, it's all true. These pieces of Americana make up the high school experience.
I'd never seen this musical before, so my expectations were low. But the music, the acting and the kids were amazing. The musical is called HONK! and it's based on the story of The Ugly Duckling. A number of the high school kids decided this was beneath them and didn't even try out. They apparently weren't aware of the sexual innuendo throughout the play. As Grace said, "Mom, what do you expect? It was created in England."
So no one should have been surprised when the duck mother was explaining to the Ugly Duckling that the island was too far away to swim. "Good gracious, no. It's farther than you'd think. I've only been out there once when your father and I were courting and I didn't mean to go that far then."
Grace, a hen, and Queenie, a cat, have a scene where the tom cat is chasing down the ugly duckling. The tom cat sees Queenie and a "love scene" ensues. She calls the tom cat a "scruff" but admits that when "you've had it easy, you like a bit of rough!"
So this was definitely no children's-only show.
Some of my favorite parts from the show: Grace was sick on Tuesday night so she stayed home while they were rehearsing. She was texting. I asked who she was texting.
"Isn't Carl rehearsing?" I asked. Carl played one of the ducklings.
"Yes, he's in his egg."
I loved the idea that Carl was on stage waiting to be hatched and busy texting.
On opening night, we were in the audience. The cat's goal throughout is to catch and eat the Ugly Duckling. A little boy a few rows behind us. Began to whisper in fear, "Oh no. He's going to eat him. He's going to get him."
His mother had to take him out of the theater. Then when the cat goes running out of the back door, as part of the play, the child and the mean cat came face to face. Kyle, who played the cat, scared children, and enthralled them every night.
In the final night, a little boy in the audience had the funniest laugh, kind of craggly. When Kyle the cat ripped open his yellow rain slicker (the one he'd been wearing to pretend he's a duck) the little boy laughed a big, raucous laugh. Everyone on stage had to freeze because the whole audience cracked up at the little boy's laugh.
At the end of the play Saturday night, Grace sobbed and sobbed. Theater and music made her high school experience worthwhile. Yes, she loved biology and she was an expert at English essays, but this was something she could not have gotten at home.
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